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July 29, 1988 - Image 3

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1988-07-29

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, July 29, 1988 - Page 3

Two worlds collide
Kristin sits with her legs crossed and her arms crossed and her eyes
glued to the floor. She does not trust me. She does not want to be here.
She has come to Ozone House, she says, because her only other
option is the street. She can not go home. Even if her mother would take
her back, she wouldn't go. Something about her mother's boyfriend. She
doesn't want to talk about it.
"I want a place of my own," she says, her eyes meeting mine for the
first time, and the tone of her voice, and the look on her face, burn into
my mind. She wants to drop out of school and get a waitress job, but she
has nowhere to stay while she is saving money, and even if she does save
up enough for a security deposit, she can't sign a lease because she is 17.
I tell her we can find a place for her to stay for a few nights, on
somebody's couch, and that tomorrow she can fill out an application for
Ozone's Independent Living Program. I make the necessary phone calls,
and tell her where to go.
I walk through the living room full with teens smoking, thinking,
talking, trying to sleep. A room full of young people returning from jobs
or job-hunts, from AA meetings or drug deals. They are always waiting
- waiting for counseling appointments, or to get something to eat, or to
find out where they will be sleeping tonight. Briefly, I greet the ones I
know. Then I get on my bike and ride away.
To my home. To my own place.
It is so easy, once away from Ozone House, to melt back into the
University landscape, into this life of classes, studying, seeing friends,
working. I am busy. In this life there is no waiting, there is only
constant movement, fulfilling obligations, making lists of things to do
and checking them off.
Then, when the two worlds collide, I realize how separate they are, and
how convenient that separation is for me. Seeing Kristin on the Diag is
like the shock of feeling a bruise that does not hurt unless it is touched. I
did not realize how scrupulously I have avoided thinking about her until
she appears, out of context, intruding on my clean, clear college world.
We say hello. She explains that she is on her way to Taco Bell, to fill
out a job application. I am relieved. She is just passing through, then;
she is not attempting to join me here. We agree to meet at Ozone
tomorrow and I continue on to class, angry and confused at my reaction.
Yet it is not surprising, given the invisible status to which our society'
relegates the homeless, that I should react that way. We are socialized to
ignore them, to walk by without turning our heads, to pretend they do not
exist. If we do not acknowledge them, then they must not be real. And
despite the recent increase in press coverage of the issue, nothing
significant has been done on either a national or local level to assure the
growing numbers of homeless of their basic right to shelter.
Though the Ann Arbor community has so far failed to acknowledge
the needs of homeless teens, the teens themselves may force us to
confront the problem we try so hard to avoid. Because of their age and
their anger, they constitute a undeniable force, a force which refuses to be
ignored, and refuses to be silent. Several young Ozone House clients met
last week with Mayor Gerald Jernigan to express their frustration with the
city's non-response to their plight. Jernigan's initial reaction- surprise
at the scope of the problem - is representative of the community's lack
of awareness.
It is easy to live in separate worlds: The world of endless waiting. The
world of busy obligations. The bruises that only hurt when you touch

Forum finds Dems differ

Michigan's second district Demo-t
cratic Congressional candidates LanaI
Pollack and Dean Baker differed on
the issues of Israel and gay rights in_
a forum at Ann Arbor's Church of
the Good Shepherd, eight days prior
to the Aug. 2 primary.
Pollack twice evoked hisses from
audience members who disagreed
with her stand on U.S.-Israeli rela-
"We need to continue our com-
mitment to Israel, to its security and
to its well being," she said. "I have a
lifelong commitment to human
rights for all people."
But Baker strongly opposed to
U.S. funding for Israel, which he said1
perpetuates oppressive Israeli poli-
An article in the July 22, 1988
issue of the Daily concerning the
search for a new University Affirmat-
ive Action director incorreetiy report-
ed that the Michigan Student Assem-
bly had not yet named a student
representative to the committee.
The article should have stated that
the committee had named two candid-
ates for the spot, but that the final
representative had not yet been
I oe
The Business offices of The
Michigan Daily will be closed on
Friday , July 29 (today).

"I'd say we have a responsibility Both candidates, however, sup-
to force (the Israelis) to respect ported social programs such as rais-
Palestinian rights," he said. ing the minimum wage and develop-
Pollack also said, as she has pre- ing national health care coverage.
In the first of the two five-minute
Both c andidates sup- opening statements, State Sen. Pol-
ported similar social pro- lack (D-Ann Arbor) emphasized that
grams such as raising the main issue of her campaign is
the minimum Wage, but "the future of our children, ...our
parents, ...ourselves, ...the planet."
differed on human rights She supported expanding social
issues. and environmental programs, which
she said congressional incumbent
viously to a group of University Carl Pursell (R-2nd District) has
students, that although she supports hindered.
gay rights, she would not prime- Baker in his statement told the
sponsor or co-sponsor gay rights audience the agenda of the Reagan
legislation. administration must be reversed, and
Baker reiterated that he would be endorsed eliminating proportional tax
willing to sponsor civil rights legis- breaks and reducing the military bud-
lation for lesbians and gay men. get.
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